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Comments on: Ah, spring–when a young prof’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of service http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/02/26/ah-spring-when-a-young-profs-fancy-lightly-turns-to-thoughts-of-service/ "A man needn't go far to find a subject, if he's ready with his salt-box."--Uncle Pumblechook Wed, 14 May 2014 19:32:14 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 By: Belief and Lazy Consensus: Focusing on Governance - ProfHacker - The Chronicle of Higher Education http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/02/26/ah-spring-when-a-young-profs-fancy-lightly-turns-to-thoughts-of-service/comment-page-1/#comment-181069 Wed, 28 Mar 2012 12:02:58 +0000 http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/02/26/ah-spring-when-a-young-profs-fancy-lightly-turns-to-thoughts-of-service/#comment-181069 […] many sources: the desire not to seem like a crank; misconceiving of the work of the university as “service” rather than governance; deciding to focus on your disciplinary colleagues elsewhere (or online) […]

By: Heather http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/02/26/ah-spring-when-a-young-profs-fancy-lightly-turns-to-thoughts-of-service/comment-page-1/#comment-7591 Thu, 28 Feb 2008 21:58:32 +0000 http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/02/26/ah-spring-when-a-young-profs-fancy-lightly-turns-to-thoughts-of-service/#comment-7591 Wow, this is great — you should circulate this on our campus!

By: Frothy McBaldman http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/02/26/ah-spring-when-a-young-profs-fancy-lightly-turns-to-thoughts-of-service/comment-page-1/#comment-7581 Thu, 28 Feb 2008 12:32:47 +0000 http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/02/26/ah-spring-when-a-young-profs-fancy-lightly-turns-to-thoughts-of-service/#comment-7581 I’m sure you’re right, that the opposite is the rule more often than the exception: the (hypothetically) light committees I find myself on are peopled with slackers, as far as I can tell. One fellow made his debut at our February meeting, and the rep from Military Sciences hasn’t shown at all since making a cameo at the first. This strikes me as especially odd, since the committee is chaired by the Associate Dean, the woman with whom we meet annually to go over our tenure portfolios.

Even so, I fret overmuch about leaving my fate in the hands of administrative folks whose job it is to assess the relative worth of my service. According to bylaw, service work is primarily a numbers game: to rise from assistant to associate, for example, I have to accumulate four total years of service between the department, college, and university levels. Raw numbers aside, however, I must also substantiate the quality and quantity of my contribution, which seems to make tenure and promotion discretionary outcomes–the numbers do not matter so much as opinions about those numbers.

That’s enough to make me antsy in prospect; I can’t imagine how I’ll feel if I get boxed out of plum committee assignments again in 2009 and go up for tenure early the following fall.

By: jbj http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/02/26/ah-spring-when-a-young-profs-fancy-lightly-turns-to-thoughts-of-service/comment-page-1/#comment-7538 Wed, 27 Feb 2008 12:12:09 +0000 http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/02/26/ah-spring-when-a-young-profs-fancy-lightly-turns-to-thoughts-of-service/#comment-7538 Absolutely true. And that’s fine: Especially at big universities, it’s hard to understand how junior faculty can get elected. So, it seems to me, “I’d like to serve, but haven’t been elected” is a reasonable position, especially if you can point to ballots and such.

But you’d be surprised how many times I see service couched in exactly the way I describe above: “It’s important for my file–where can I get some that will be easy?”

The comparison to students trolling RMP.com for an easy professor is left as an exercise for the reader.

By: Frothy McBaldman http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/02/26/ah-spring-when-a-young-profs-fancy-lightly-turns-to-thoughts-of-service/comment-page-1/#comment-7537 Wed, 27 Feb 2008 12:08:36 +0000 http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/02/26/ah-spring-when-a-young-profs-fancy-lightly-turns-to-thoughts-of-service/#comment-7537 Once again I find myself suspicious of the machinery of service. I’m most assuredly not an alienated outsider, but it seems fairly clear to me that junior faculty members are held at arm’s length when it comes to the heaviest lifting of committee obligations, at least in my neck of the woods. I am ineligible for 75% of university appointments, all of which occur between 3:00 and 5:00 on Mondays and Wednesdays, the least-coveted time slot I most often spend in the classroom (by default, not design). Inside the department, younger faculty members are consistently shunted away from steering responsibilities (personnel, curriculum, assessment) and find themselves assigned light burdens. Part of that local pattern arises from simple familiarity, I know (when my colleagues need to pick a representative from the British literature area, they have several well-regarded options to choose before me), and they have good reason to view junior faculty as a potentially transient population. At this point, however, questions of weight and meaning for my service are largely moot. At this juncture I can only take what I can get and hope that it won’t be held against me.